Patch Bay Ordeal - Happy Ending

Nicky

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Over the past couple of years, I have been upgrading my DAW, mics, preamps, etc. I did a lot of research, and through trial and error, have learned how to do more advanced recording. Logistically, the physical configuration of the hardware had become unwieldy - cables, patch cords, power supplies...junk everywhere!

So, I got a burr up my a$$, and decided to get a patch bay. It will simplify my life, right? Oy, vey. I was in for a huge learning curve.

The theory is simple. Route everything - mics, preamps, audio interface, outboard effects, recorders - through a centrally located switch box. Then, if you want to run your Røde 121 through an ISA One preamp then into a compressor and into your recording interface, all you have to do is link them together with a few patch cords on the front of the patch bay. Yes, it works, but getting all this gear routed properly was an exercise of epic proportions. The front of my work station looks pretty clean, but behind the desk are more cords and cables than Carter has liver pills! My biggest challenge was getting my preamps staged so I could run them through an outboard compressor/EQ. The patch bay makes this possible, but it requires visualization and lots of cables.

All-in-all, it took about a month to put it together.

Here's a few shots of the project which I just finished tonight.






 

Nicky

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For those of you who don't know how this works, all the outputs from the devices are plugged into the back of the patch bay on the top row. So, the signals come out of the front of the patch bay on the top row. Then, a cable sends the output of the devices to the audio interface (or other outboard gear) through cables on the bottom row of the back of the patch bay. But, here's the trick. The patch bay also sends the output through the bottom row of the front of the patch bay. Therefore, by using small patch cables, you can connect any input device to any output and send the signal wherever you want. You don't have to get on your knees behind the desk and reconnect the cables every time you want to reroute a signal.

In the photo below, I have a mic going through the ISA One preamp into channel 3 of the patch bay. I then patch the output of the preamp to the input of the P10 compressor on the bottom row to the right. This sends the signal to the compressor which is returning the effected signal to the top of the patch bay. I then connect a green patch cable from the compressor output on the top row back to the bottom row of the preamp channel 3, which sends the signal to audio interface for recording. BTW, I used short mic cable leads with different colors, one for each preamp. Makes it easy to plug a mic into the right one. :D

 

Freddy G

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Congrats Nicky! I have been very long overdue on setting my own patchbay up. But now that I have it I realize what a PITA it was anytime I needed to change a patch.



I have more outboard gear on my desktop as well. It's so nice to have everything accessible at the patchbay! I also built patch panels at three locations in my house that end up at the patchbay. Very handy! This one's in the family room, just 4 mic lines and 2 returns.

 

Nicky

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Congrats Nicky! I have been very long overdue on setting my own patchbay up. But now that I have it I realize what a PITA it was anytime I needed to change a patch.



I have more outboard gear on my desktop as well. It's so nice to have everything accessible at the patchbay! I also built patch panels at three locations in my house that end up at the patchbay. Very handy! This one's in the family room, just 4 mic lines and 2 returns.

Wow! I wish I had thought of running cables through the wall when I was finishing the room above our garage a few years ago. Really cool trick! :thumb:
 




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